Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla is located in the historic centre of Jerez. Its story began with the aristocratic Andrada-Vanderwilde family, who for two centuries provided grapes and wine for the production of sherry in the area. In 1972 Fernando Andrada-Vanderwilde took over some old sherry cellars and brandy soleras from a couple of local bodegas, and changed the name of the company from Fernando III to Fernando de Castilla.
In 1999 Jan Pettersen, a Norwegian with 15 years experience at Osborne, bought the company and also acquired a neighbouring almacenista, JosÃ© Bustamente. He also formed a partnership with a local grape grower â€“ to ensure consistent supply of high quality grapes â€“ unusual for the smaller bodegas, who usually have to rely on co-operatives. He decided to focus entirely on high-end, complex sherries - in the process upgrading the bodega to one of the most interesting and highly regarded of the small independent sherry houses in Jerez.
Whilst the company also produces Sherry Vinegar, and their own range of brandies, the Sherries produced here are amongst the finest in Jerez - from the pale, dry and elegant fino to the most unique antique wines.
There are two ranges: Classic, and the premium Antique range. It is the excellence of the Antique range of intensely pure and complex single solera Sherries that has largely driven Fernando de Castilla's reputation as masters in the production and ageing of fine, unblended, untreated Sherries (they do not fine, clarify or aggressively filter any of their wines).
Pedro XimÃ©nez grapes are harvested and dried for up to 2 days in the hot September Spanish sun.
The grapes are too sweet to ferment naturally and are fortified to 15% alcohol. Ageing then takes place in a solera system producing the Classic PX which is on average 12 years old.
Opaquely dark mahogany colour. The nose seduces with intense dried fruit aromas of raisins, prunes and dates, coupled with brown spices of nutmeg and clove, this becomes reminiscent of Christmas cake. Unctuous sweetness marries well with the intense and complex flavours freshened by a slice of acidity.
Drink with rich chocolate tart (or over premium ice cream if you're feeling extravagant!)